BRMS students learn about significance of 9/11

Members of Tonya Morgan’s Big Rapids Middle School fifth-grade class visited the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety on Wednesday to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Firefighter Sean Wethington explained the 9/11 memorial in front of the department is made of a steel beam that once was a part of the World Trade Center. (Pioneer photo/Taylor Fussman)

BIG RAPIDS — It can be easy to forget pieces of history as time passes, but local teachers and members of the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety are working to ensure the next generation remembers the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

On Wednesday, the 18th anniversary of the day a series of coordinated terrorist attacks resulted in the death of thousands of people, members of Tonya Morgan’s Big Rapids Middle School fifth-grade class stopped by the BRDPS to take a closer look at the 9/11 memorial, which stands in front of the department.

Firefighter Sean Wethington said he has been speaking to local students for the past six years about the significance of 9/11 and the memorial.

“These students didn’t live it, and so often if you don’t learn about our history, you’re going to forget it,” he said.

He added the experience of actually touching a steel beam that once was a part of the World Trade Center can be an eye-opening experience.

“It’s great to have this piece of history that they can touch and see,” Wethington said.

Firefighter Sean Wethington helped fifth-grade student Shane Geister feel the steel beam which makes up the 9/11 memorial in front of the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety on Wednesday. (Pioneer photo/Taylor Fussman)

As the students took turns feeling the thick steel beam, Morgan said she also took the time to teach her students about the history of 9/11 and the impact it had on the country.

“It was very impactful to all of our lives when 9/11 happened, and I think that to have this piece of history is amazing,” she said. “I think it makes us realize not to take things for granted.”

Wethington added while the events of 9/11 were tragic, what took place the day after showed people of all backgrounds could come together.

“That’s one of the great things about Sept. 12 — we were able to put all of differences aside and just be American,” he said. One of the things that makes America great is that we can all be different.”

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Posted by Taylor Fussman

Taylor is the cops and courts reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review newspapers. She can be reached at (231) 592-8362 or by email at tfussman@pioneergroup.com.

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